There’s something about a well-developed character that makes a reader swoon. I went into this book not expecting to like it as much as I did. Instead, I was thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it and waiting for the next time that I could sit down to finish it. It’s also worth discussing the excitement of a clever cover that not only grabs a reader but represents a central theme that from nothing can come something.
Maddy is the main character of the story in which she is sheltered from the outside world as a “bubble baby”, understanding that she is allergic to the outside world and must live under the care of a nurse. And, anyone wishing to be near her, must go through decontamination before entering the house. Surprisingly, Maddy has created a world that she owns: reading, taking classes online, and connecting with her nurse that has become as much her caretaker as a friend. So it’s assumed that Nurse Carla would have a soft spot and arrange an indoor meeting between Maddy and her new neighbor, Olly, who she has taken a liking to after instant messaging and emailing. Olly is a risk-taker and somewhat damaged by the abusive relationship inside his house, which Maddy is privy to as she watches from her window. But Olly has now given her the freedom to dream of something more as love has blinded her from any fear she might have. And, in the best way possible, a shocking revelation has allowed Maddy to be set free.
The reader is along for the journey of a girl, coming of age, in a rich narrative that focuses on the development of the characters. And we’re ever so grateful to Nicola Yoon for bringing her and others to life.